© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A passerby wearing a protective mask is silhouetted in front of a screen of blank prices on a stock quotation board after Tokyo Stock Exchange temporarily suspended all trading due to system problems, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pa
By Kevin Buckland
TOKYO (Reuters) – Global stocks headed for their first weekly gain in three amid a surge in commodity prices, while traders braced for a key U.S. jobs report later on Friday that could provide clues on when the Federal Reserve will ease back on monetary stimulus.
MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets, which tracks stocks in 50 countries, edged up about 0.1%, on course for a 0.4% gain this week.
Its broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up by about 0.4% on Friday, with China’s blue chips and each gaining about 0.3%.
Aluminum prices approached levels last seen in 2018 and flirted with 10-year peaks as investors bet on a rapid global recovery from the pandemic, led by the United States.
Overnight, Wall Street investors piled into economically-sensitive stocks on the reflation trade, driving the to a record high close on Thursday.
The Dow rose 0.9%, the gained 0.8% and the added 0.4%.
pointed to further gains, rising 0.2% on Friday.
U.S. shares rallied, led by financials and industrials, after a report showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell below 500,000 last week for the first since the COVID-19 pandemic started, signalling the labour market recovery entered a new phase amid a booming economy.
The Russell 1000 Value index gained 0.8%, outpacing the Russell 1000 Growth index, which rose 0.5%.
The focus now shifts to Friday’s non-farm payrolls report, with estimates ranging widely between 700,000 and more than 2 million jobs having been created in April.
“Get ready for payrolls, they could be huge,” Chris Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone in Melbourne, wrote in a note for clients.
“The commodity space is the talk,” and financials are the “bull play” going into the payrolls report, he said.
The safe-haven dollar sank to its lowest level this week against a basket of major peers on Friday ahead of the jobs report, as firmness in global stock markets boosted risk appetite.
The dipped to 90.837, and was on track for a 0.4% decline this week.
Treasury yields hovered near the lowest level this month on Friday, further removing support for the greenback, after bond traders largely shrugged off the better-than-expected initial jobless claims data and waited for the non-farm payrolls report to provide market direction.
The 10-year Treasury note yielded 1.5714% early in the Asian session.
Gold headed for a 2.5% weekly gain, the most since December, as the weaker dollar and easing Treasury yields propelled the precious metal, an inflation hedge, above the key $1,800 an ounce psychological level to last trade at $1,813.54.